Featured Image: Collecting Strong Lenses

You’re looking at just a handful (click here to see a few more!) of the 1,210 strong gravitational lens candidates newly discovered in a recent study that analyzed data from the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) Legacy Surveys. Strong gravitational lensing occurs when light from a background source bends around a massive foreground object (like a galaxy). This bending smears the light from the background source into arcs, rings, and multiple images. In a study led by Xiaosheng Huang (University of San Francisco), scientists have now used trained neural networks to search the DESI data for new strong gravitational lensing systems, finding a treasure trove of candidates. The new discoveries dramatically extend our set of known strong lens systems — in 2018, when the first iteration of this project began, there were only a few hundred confirmed strong lenses. To read more about the project and its results, check out the original article below.


“Discovering New Strong Gravitational Lenses in the DESI Legacy Imaging Surveys,” X. Huang et al 2021 ApJ 909 27. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/abd62b